Originally published in The Union on January 25, 2023.
Grass Valley, CA—Four local Rotary Clubs have come together to provide a Rotary District grant to Bright Futures for Youth to support the new NEO Youth Center. The Rotary Club of Grass Valley, the Rotary Club of Grass Valley South, Rotary Club of Nevada City, and 49er Rotary Breakfast Club all came together to submit the grant request to Rotary District 5190.
“We’re always looking at new ways to connect with youth and expand our mission, and the NEO Youth Center expansion is a perfect opportunity,” said Jennifer Singer, Executive Director of Bright Futures for Youth. “The Youth Center will offer more youth and young adults a place to socialize, make new friends, explore new interests and passions, and even get help with their homework in a comfortable and safe environment.”
The Rotary grant will specifically support the development of the NEO Café portion of the youth center. “A special feature of the NEO Youth Center will be the Youth Café, where young people can hang out with their friends in an inclusive environment that is safe, relaxed and friendly. The Café setting enables youth to develop strong relationships with peers and staff and obtain information and get advice,” said Sandra Barrington, President of the Rotary Club of Grass Valley.
Youth Services is an important avenue of service for Rotary to support local youth in the schools and in the community. Clubs sponsor specific schools, help build school gardens, provide scholarships, sponsor youth to attend leadership camps, and sponsor local programs like the speech and music contests.
In addition to the Rotary District Grant of $24,988, the Rotary Club of Grass Valley is donating an additional $15,000 from a special fund to honor a past club member Mike Johnson. “Mike Johnson passed away many years ago and his impact on youth services in Rotary is still vibrant today. Mike was a big advocate to support local youth programs and was instrumental in bringing Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and REGL Leadership Camp to our area,” said Barrington. This grant project will provide an opportunity to honor Mike Johnson’s work in Rotary with a plaque at the youth center in his memory.
Join the Rotary Clubs in Nevada County and support the new NEO Youth Center.